The 23-40 Washington Wizards have featured a ton of different lineups on the season, but which one has performed the best?
The Washington Wizards have featured a bunch of different lineups throughout the 2019-2020 season, largely due to injuries. As of March 3rd, the Washington Wizards had the second most games missed due to injury in the entire NBA.
NBA top 5, most games missed by injured players.
— Man Games Lost NBA (@ManGamesLostNBA) March 4, 2020
The benefit to having all those games missed, and all those different lineups, is we got to have a fairly good look at many of our players next to people they may not have played against before. In fact, the Washington Wizards have put an astonishing 565 different lineups on the hardwood this season.
With all that data, about three-quarters of the way through the season, we can take a look at which lineups have performed the best, and which have no business seeing the floor. Unless otherwise stated, the stats in this article came from NBA.com or Basketball Reference.
Most popular lineups
When it comes to most popular lineups, it’s pretty simple to figure out. Whichever lineup saw the floor most was the preferred lineup of coach Scott Brooks.
Brooks seemed to like to go most with Isaiah Thomas and Bradley Beal in the backcourt, Troy Brown and Rui Hachimura at the forward positions, and Thomas Bryant at center. This lineup, with 173 minutes and 23 seconds on the floor together, has seen almost twice as much time as the second-most popular lineup.
However, we all know that IT3 was shipped out at the trade deadline, so this lineup is no longer possible. Which lineup is the most popular now after the deadline?
Ish Smith, Bradley Beal, Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura, and Ian Mahinmi. Most notable here, aside from Ish Smith replacing IT3, is that Bonga makes an appearance as does Mahinmi. This lineup has seen 98 minutes and 21 seconds together.
That lineup has seen he most floor time post all-star break too with 38 minutes shared on the floor. Second since the all-star break features Shabazz Napier, Beal, Bonga, Hachimura, and Thomas Bryant, playing 27 minutes since the break.
Best Rebounding Lineup
The lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Bradley Beal, Isaac Bonga, Davis Bertans, and Ian Mahinmi had the best comparative advantage in the rebounding category. Over 100 possessions, this lineup averaged 6 rebounds more than their opponent.
Together, in 57 minutes of floor time, they’ve grabbed 59 rebounds, which is good for just a shade over one rebound per minute.
The team that’s grabbed the most rebounds overall is IT3, Beal, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, and Thomas Bryant, but they’ve had the benefit of seeing 180 minutes together. In those 180 minutes, they’ve grabbed 161 rebounds, slightly less than the above lineup.
The best lineup that we currently have available on the roster for rebounding is Ish Smith, Beal, Bertans, Rui Hachimura, and Moritz Wagner. It seems putting Bertans at the small forward position isn’t a terrible idea in every aspect of the game as they snagged 5.1 more rebounds per 100 possessions than their opponent. However, this lineup also happened to give up 2.9 more points per 100 possessions than their opponents in 61 minutes and 37 seconds on the floor together.
It’s kind of interesting that Wagner is in both the best and worst lineups currently available to the Washington Wizards.
Best Lineup for Ball Movement
The best team for assists averages 75 assists per 100 possessions, and it’s probably the most interesting result as it includes NO point guard. Crazy, right?
Let the Beal haters see this one because the best assists are averaged by Beal, TBJ, Bertans, Hachimura, and Mahinmi. No joke, these guys share the rock better than any other combination on the team. I had to limit this to lineups that had appeared in three games or more for this stat, and these guys only have seen three games together total.
However, the best comparative advantage in assists belongs to Ish Smith, Beal, McRae, Bertans, and Thomas Bryant. They average 22.2 MORE assists per 100 possessions than their opponents, though they’ve only played on the floor for 30 minutes and 52 seconds together.
The worst lineup for comparative assists was IT3, Beal, Bonga, Bryant, and Ian Mahinmi. I guess two center lineups aren’t our style, and have I mentioned how glad I am that Isaiah Thomas is gone?
Best lineup, period
And here it is, the ultimate pinnacle. What this game comes down to is who can score the most points, while simultaneously limiting the amount of points the other team scores.
It’s a pretty simple game when you see it that way, and these are the guys that ultimately should have seen the floor most when we had them, and the guys that should see the court the most now.
Ish Smith, Bradley Beal, Jordan McRae, Davis Bertans, and Thomas Bryant put up an astonishing 56.9 more points than their opponents per 100 possessions. This is on a magnitude of 10 times more than the next nearest lineup.
Of course, this group of five only saw the court for 30 minutes and 52 seconds total, and McRae is no longer in a Washington Wizards uniform. Still, it’s pretty good.
The next best thing? Ish Smith, Bradley Beal, Isaac Bonga, Rui Hachimura, and Ian Mahinmi. This group has seen the floor for 98 minutes and 21 seconds together and has put up 6.7 more points than their opponents over 100 possessions.
The worst is Ish Smith, Beal, Bonga, Hachimura, and Moritz Wagner giving up 26.9 more points per 100 possessions than their opponents.
If we go by net rating, there’s actually a pretty cool tool over at NBA.com that shows you the lineups on a scale next to other teams in the same division. The Napier, Robinson, Beal, Hachimura, Bryant lineup actually stands out better than any lineup for any other team though it’s a pretty small sample size in only two games.
It’s clear that the Washington Wizards need to consider if Thomas Bryant is going to be in their long-term plans, and whether or not Troy Brown is too as they don’t seem to appear anywhere here in a good way.
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